The Moderna vaccine contains SM-102 not chloroform – Full Fact


25 May 2021

What was claimed

The Moderna vaccine contains SM-102 which could cause health complaints such as cancer, fertility damage and damage to the nervous system, kidneys or respiratory system.

Our verdict

These claims about SM-102 are from a product safety leaflet when it is in a mixed solution with a toxic substance called chloroform. The Moderna vaccine does contain SM-102, but not chloroform.

A Facebook user has posted a video which suggests that the Moderna vaccine is dangerous to human health because one of its ingredients appears to be described as hazardous and toxic in a safety data sheet. But this warning applies to the ingredient (a lipid called SM-102) when it is in a mixture with chloroform, a known highly toxic substance.  

The video shows someone Google “simple ingredients for the moderna vaccine”. They then scroll through the results, and find that an ingredient “SM-102” is first in a bullet point list. Searching for SM-102 leads to a chemical supplier’s website

The user downloads the safety data sheet provided and highlights a number of hazards associated with the substance. These include warnings that it is “highly flammable”, “suspected of causing cancer”, “suspected of damaging fertility” and causes “damage to the central nervous system, the kidneys, the liver, the respiratory system through prolonged or repeated exposure” amongst others. 

Although the Moderna vaccine does contain SM-102, and the Facebook video does follow a link to a genuine safety data sheet, the safety information refers to SM-102 in a mixture with chloroform, which is known to be a toxic substance

The third page of the leaflet shown in the video, explains the product listing, stating that chloroform (which makes up 90% of this particular mixture) is a “dangerous” component. The SM-102 makes up 10% of the mixture described in the leaflet. 

Similar claims have also been fact checked by PolitiFact.

What is SM-102 and does the Moderna vaccine use it?

The Moderna vaccine’s active ingredient is a piece of genetic material called mRNA which is essentially the instruction to make the spike proteins found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19. Once these are made, this then triggers an immune response to those proteins, which protects the body against the real virus.

SM-102 is a lipid molecule used to form the nanoparticle which carries the mRNA in the Moderna vaccine to cells in the body. The Pfizer vaccine uses different lipid molecules for this purpose. 

Although SM-102 is used in the Moderna vaccine, the vaccine does not contain chloroform and it is not listed in the vaccine’s ingredients

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine was given regulatory approval for use in the UK in January 2021. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said “all COVID-19 vaccines are continually monitored by the MHRA. This ensures that the benefits in protecting people against COVID-19 continue to far outweigh any potential side-effects.” 

The MHRA told Full Fact “The manufacture for the SM-102 is controlled and agreed specifications have to be met before it can be used in the lipid nanoparticles for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.”  

The MHRA also added: “We are not aware of any reason for specific concerns with the safety of SM-102.

“Chloroform is not used in the manufacture of SM-102 for this vaccine.”

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here.

For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false
because the health concerns in the claims are related to when SM-102 is in a mixed solution with a toxic substance called chloroform. The Moderna vaccine does contain SM-120, but not chloroform.

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